Picton River

The time had come to test the new rafts on something a bit more exciting than the lower Huon, but unfortunately river levels in the south weren’t quite as high as we had hoped; though we gave it a go anyway.  The plan was to put in at the site of the old bridge over the Picton, and paddle down to Tahune.

We reached the rafters access just before 10am and made our way down the steps to prepare the boats. There are some changing facilities nearby as well as a toilet, however it was temporarily closed.  The river starts off pretty gently, and we pulled up a little way down stream to check out the Huon Pine and take a few photos.  As we made our way downstream, the shingle rapids were easy to negotiate- but we did found ourselves stuck on a number of rocks on the wider sections of river.  Luckily they were very smooth and didn’t damage the rafts.

Further on, there is a narrow section known as The Gorge that was probably the most exciting part of the trip. There are two small drops followed by a narrow channel where the water is funnelled through.  A large tree has fallen over the narrow section, blocking access on the main waterway and we were forced to move some logs on the left hand side to squeeze by.  At high water this obstacle could be very dangerous as it comes out of nowhere and would need to be portaged if the left hand side is also blocked. Just before reaching the main bridge over the Picton we were lucky to see a large white bellied sea eagle perched on dead branch above the river. He kept a close eye on us as we drifted past but didn’t seem too worried.  As in previous sections, a bit more water would have been nice as we found ourselves beached again while passing under the main bridge over the Picton.  It was easy going though once we rejoined the Huon, and before long we had reached the exit point at the Tahune Bridge.

All up 10.5kms in 2hours and 39 minutes.

Getting there: Follow all directions to Tahune Airwalk from Geeveston.  Just before the Airwalk turn left onto West Picton Road.  Follow this for ~500m and turn left again onto East Picton Road.  Follow this until you reached a locked gate and access to the river is on your right.

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GPS track of the trip
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Looking upstream from the rafters access.  Old bridge pylons can be seen on the left.
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Just down from the entry point.
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Looking upstream – plenty of pines on the banks.
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SS Emily.

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White-bellied sea eagle
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A large section of wall just up from the main bridge.